Two-temperature GRRMHD Simulations of M87

Benjamin R. Ryan, Sean M. Ressler, Joshua C. Dolence, Charles Gammie, Eliot Quataert

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We present axisymmetric two-temperature general relativistic radiation magnetohydrodynamic simulations of the inner region of the accretion flow onto the supermassive black hole M87. We address uncertainties from previous modeling efforts through inclusion of models for (1) self-consistent dissipative and Coulomb electron heating (2) radiation transport (3) frequency-dependent synchrotron emission, self-absorption, and Compton scattering. We adopt a distance D = 16.7 Mpc, an observer angle θ = 20°, and consider black hole masses and spins a = (0.5, 0.9375) in a four-simulation suite. For each (M, a ), we identify the accretion rate that recovers the 230 GHz flux from very long baseline interferometry measurements. We report on disk thermodynamics at these accretion rates (). The disk remains geometrically thick; cooling does not lead to a thin disk component. While electron heating is dominated by Coulomb rather than dissipation for r 10GM/c 2, the accretion disk remains two-temperature. Radiative cooling of electrons is not negligible, especially for r ≲ 10GM/c 2. The Compton y parameter is of order unity. We then compare derived and observed or inferred spectra, millimeter images, and jet powers. Simulations with M/M o = 3.3 ×109 are in conflict with observations. These simulations produce millimeter images that are too small, while the low-spin simulation also overproduces X-rays. For , both simulations agree with constraints on radio/IR/X-ray fluxes and millimeter image sizes. Simulation jet power is a factor 102-103 below inferred values, a possible consequence of the modest net magnetic flux in our models.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number126
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number2
StatePublished - Sep 10 2018
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


  • accretion, accretion disks
  • magnetohydrodynamics (MHD)
  • plasmas
  • radiation: dynamics
  • radiative transfer
  • turbulence


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